Man plunges Cheviot into darkness
A North Canterbury man must pay $1485 for plunging Cheviot into darkness for three-and-a-half hours by swinging on a powerpole stay-wire after a late night visit to the local pub.
Judge David Saunders in a Rangiora District Court session ordered Nathan Owen Brownson, 23, to pay for the damage he caused.
Brownson, a chainsaw operator, pleaded guilty to a charge of intentional damage.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Jeff Kay told the court Brownson and a workmate left the Cheviot Trust Hotel at 1am on February 1, and walked to the corner of Cadman and Buckley Streets where Brownson began to pull vigorously on a powerpole stay-wire.
"This caused the overhead power wires to sway back and forth towards each other," Kay said.
Brownson continued pulling until the wires touched, causing them to arc, burn out, and fall to the ground.
The high voltage fuses blew, cutting power to Cheviot township and the surrounding rural area.
"It took Mainpower staff three-and-a-half hours to repair the damage and reconnect the power," Kay said.
He told of a woman with respiratory emphysema who needed power to run her medical equipment, and the loss of power to the Cheviot Rest Home, the medical centre, and many households.
Brownson at first denied the offending, but admitted it when the workmate told the police what had happened.
"At one stage he threatened to sue the power company for not having sturdier poles," said the prosecutor.
Judge Saunders imposed no penalty, but ordered Brownson to pay the $1485 cost of repairs.